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What are the Best Tips for Caring for Parkinson's Patients?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Parkinson's patients need both physical and emotional support to manage their illness. There are a variety of ways in which the care provider can help the Parkinson's patient, such as improving his or her diet, rearranging the home, and helping them maintain mobility. In addition, anyone caring for a patient with Parkinson's disease needs to invest time in his or her own health. Caring for a patient with Parkinson's disease is demanding, and the caregiver needs to ask for help from others, and take time for themselves through exercise, meditation, or other methods of relieving stress.

Parkinson's patients often have difficulty walking. Their stride becomes short and stiff, and the muscles in their arms become rigid, so that they don't swing naturally at their sides. The best flooring choice for Parkinson's patients is hardwood or some other type of smooth covering. If that is not possible, low-pile carpet is preferable to high-pile. Remove throw rugs and unnecessary end tables and other furnishings that may make it difficult to navigate through the home.

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Improve Parkinson's patients ability to walk by laying strips of masking tape approximately one foot, or 0.3 meters, apart in high traffic areas of the home. The Parkinson's patient can use these strips as a guide to increase stride length, to counteract the short, shuffling gait of Parkinson's. If the patient uses a walker, affix a flashlight to the front of the walker. Adjust the beam so that is the beam hits the ground about one foot, or 0.3 meters, in front of the walker. This provides the same guide for the patient.

Another tip to aid the Parkinson's patient is to offer them a healthy, high-fiber diet. One common complication associated with Parkinson's disease is constipation. A diet high in fiber can improve digestion.

Parkinson's patients often struggle with the fact that they are not as independent as they would like. Limited, difficult motion, and stiff, rigid joints make the simplest tasks challenging. Minimize frustration by providing clothes with fabric fasteners instead of buttons, pants with an elastic waist, and easy to pull on dresses.

People caring for Parkinson's patients should be on the alert for common health complications that go along with the disease. People with Parkinson's often experience depression, sleep problems, constipation, incontinence or urinary retention, and problems chewing and swallowing foods. It is important to be alert for signs of these complications, to improve the quality of life of the patient.

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